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Access Services for Students with Disabilities

About Us

Access Services partners with the Olympic College community to foster a college culture that recognizes disability as a valued aspect of diversity and is dedicated to the inclusion and full participation of students with disabilities in all college programs, services, and activities.

  • Present formal, written documentation of disability to the Access Services office.
  • Complete New Student Application for Access Services and schedule appointment.
  • Request services early (2-4 weeks prior to need is recommended).
  • Meet with AS staff to discuss academic adjustments, accommodations and auxiliary aids.
  • Continuing students must submit a request for accommodations through myAccess each quarter.

  • Log into myAccess using your OC credentials.
  • Scroll down the page until you see a list of your classes and check the box next to each class for which you are requesting accommodations. If your classes aren't listed, skip to "Process to Request Accommodations" and enter the item number (course registration number) of each course in the boxes below.
  • Your approved accommodations will be listed under each class, select those services you would like to request.
  • Choose “Submit Your Accommodation Request” when you are finished making your selections.

  • Accommodations and academic adjustments approved by Olympic College Access Services are appropriate only for relevant courses and coursework associated with the Helper and Apprentice programs. For workplace accommodations, PSNS employees with disabilities should contact the Reasonable Accommodations/EEO office at 360-476-7606
  • Present formal, written documentation of disability to the Access Services office and identify yourself as a PSNS Helper or Apprentice
  • Complete New Student Application for Access Services and schedule appointment
  • Request services early (2-4 weeks prior to need is recommended)
  • Meet with AS staff to discuss academic adjustments, accommodations and auxiliary aids
  • Continuing students must request accommodation(s) as needed, as early as possible prior to the start of each quarter through myAccess
  • Access Services will notify faculty and the designated liaison for Helper or Apprentice program of your eligibility via email

Under the law, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activity. Medical or psychological documentation is necessary to verify the condition. Examples of disabilities include:

  • Learning
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity
  • Psychological/emotional
  • Chronic/acute health
  • Neurological
  • Mobility
  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Speech/language

Eligibility for accommodations and academic adjustments is individually determined.  The following standards for documenting a disability may be used to assist the student and evaluator in providing appropriate documentation, which serves as the foundation for legitimizing a student's request for academic adjustments and auxiliary aids.  The professional providing this information must have first  hand knowledge of the student's condition and must be an impartial professional who is not related to the student.

Documentation shall:

  1. Include a diagnostic statement identifying the disability, date of the current diagnostic evaluation, and the date of the original diagnosis.
  2. Be current, typically within the last three years.  The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, its interaction with development across the life span, the presence or  absence of significant events (since the original diagnosis) that would impact functioning, and the current status of the student at the time of the request for accommodation.
  3. Include a summary of the evaluation procedures as well as the diagnostic tests/evaluation results used to make the diagnosis.
  4. Provide a description of the current functional impact or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activities.
  5. Address, as appropriate, the relevance of accommodation requests to the diagnosed disability.
  6. When appropriate, include treatments, medication, and assistive devices currently prescribed or in use.
  7. Include the credentials of the diagnosing professional(s).


In addition to the requirements listed above, certain disabilities may have additional guidelines, as outlined below:

  • Psychiatric Disabilities: Documentation must also include the DSM-IV diagnosis and a summary of present symptoms, in a written report from a psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, certified social worker (CSW or ACSW) or licensed professional counselor.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Documentation must include a statement of the presenting problem; testing that verifies a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that currently affects learning; identification of DSM-IV criteria for ADHD; report summary and rationales for accommodations  using evidence from the evaluation.  Professionals considered acceptable for evaluating ADHD are licensed physicians, neuropsychologists, and psychologists.
  • Learning Disabilities: Documentation should validate the need for services based on the individual's current functioning in the educational setting.  A comprehensive assessment battery and the resulting diagnostic report should include  a diagnostic interview, assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, information processing, and a diagnosis.  Assessment, and any resulting diagnosis, should consist of and be based on a comprehensive assessment battery, which does not rely on any one test or sub-test.  Individual "learning styles", "learning differences", "academic problems", and "test difficulty or anxiety", in and of themselves, do not constitute a learning disability.  The tests used should be reliable, valid and standardized for use with an adolescent/adult population.  The test findings should document both the nature and severity of the learning disability.  The following professionals would generally be considered qualified to evaluate specific learning disabilities provided they have additional training and experience in the assessment of learning problems in adolescents and adults:  clinical or educational psychologists, school psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disabilities specialists, and medical doctors.


Additional Information Regarding Your Documentation

Recommendations from professionals with a history of working with the individual provide valuable information for the review process.  They will be included in the evaluation of requests for accommodation and/or auxiliary aids.  Where such recommendations are congruent with the programs and services offered  by Olympic College, they will be given deference.  When recommendations go beyond the services provided by the college, they may be used to suggest potential referrals to service providers outside the college.

For individuals who are or have recently been receiving services from a state rehabilitation agency, the requested disability information may be contained in your most recent eligibility evaluation and/or your vocational plan.

For individuals transferring from another college, information related to your disability will not be sent with a transcript request.  You must request that information separately.  Additionally, the information requested at Olympic College may or may not have been a part of your previous college's evaluation process.

For individuals who have recently been receiving services from a public school system, the information requested may be found in your most recent psycho-educational battery/evaluation summary and must be requested separately from your high school transcripts.  A school plan, such as a 504 or individualized education plan (IEP), is insufficient documentation, but may be included as part of a more comprehensive diagnostic battery.

The office of Access Services shall make determination of reasonable accommodations for students based on documentation provided.  The authority to make such decisions on behalf of the institution has been assigned by the President of the College.
 

Services and accommodations are provided on an individually determined basis and may include:

  • Assisted registration
  •  Entry advising
  • Transition support
  • Test accommodations
  • Note takers
  • Interpreting services
  • Materials in alternate format
  • Faculty liaison
  • Campus and community referral

Services Not Provided

  • Transportation
  • Personal care attendants
  • Escorts to and from class
  • Learning disability testing or assessment
  • Tutoring services
  • Financial assistance
  • Modified coursework
  • Software for off-campus use

Assistive Technology

  • One-handed keyboards
  • Voice recognition programs
  • Voice output programs
  • Computer magnification programs
  • CCTV - text enlarger
  • Braille embosser

For more information contact:
Assistive Technology
Business Building, Room 100
360-475-7510

Specialized Equipment

  • FM systems/listening devices
  • Electronic magnifiers
  • Adjustable furniture
  • Talking & large screen calculators
  • Digital talking book players
  • Adaptive weight training

All contact information and documentation received is kept in confidential files within the Access Services Office. Information from the file is provided on a "need to know" basis only, at the student's request, or with a signed consent. This typically means that the Access Services Office will share information related to the student's accommodation requests for reasons directly related to the request or for personal safety. Please contact the Access Services Director for additional information on confidentiality.

  1. When a test is announced, it is the students' responsibility to schedule it with the Assessment & Testing Center, Humanities and Student Services Building Room 222, or make appropriate arrangements with their instructor for online or lab exams. If the accommodation involves a private room, computer, assistive technology, or other specialized accommodation, students must inform the Testing Center staff when scheduling the exam. Space is limited, especially for private rooms, and students will be scheduled on a first-come-first-served basis. Every effort should be made to schedule the test at the same time it is being administered to the rest of the class.
  2. Students will be given a "Make-up and Access Testing Support Form" to take to their instructor with the date and time of their test. He or she will initial the form, provide specific instructions for testing, and return it with the exam to the Testing Center. If students do not make timely arrangements for their accommodation and provide the testing support form to their instructor, they will be expected to take their exam with the rest of the class.
  3. Students must bring picture identification to their scheduled testing appointment. Students will be permitted to use only the items listed by their instructor on the form - all other personal belongings will be secured in a locker. The exam will be stopped at the approved time limit.
  4. Tests are secured throughout the testing process and will not leave the designated testing area. Student violation of this procedure may result in an invalid test.
  5. If a student misses his/her scheduled time, or are more than 30 minutes late, the test will be returned to the instructor.

It is the student's responsibility to personally request accommodations through the Access Services Office each quarter. Students are encouraged to initiate the process as early as possible. The college will endeavor to respond to all requests in a timely manner; however, certain accommodations, auxiliary aids and services (e.g. interpreters, alternative format, assistive technology, adjustable furniture) may require substantial advance notice. Requests for these accommodations should be received 2-4 weeks in  advance of the first day of classes.

Students are also expected to meet and maintain academic standards, follow the student code of conduct and are encouraged to  communicate with Access Services staff regarding problems or issues as they arise.

by Jane Jarrow, Ph.D.

Dear Parents,

I have been working in the area of students with disabilities at the college level for more than 30 years, but that is not why I am writing to you today. I am writing as a parent, and thus as someone who shares all your current anxieties. My daughter, who graduated from high school in early June, will be going away to college this Fall. She has Cerebral Palsy, uses a wheelchair, and has limited speech capabilities, so you can be assured that I have been very involved in the educational programming and planning she has received during her years in the public school system. I wanted to be involved, but I also needed to be involved since, by law, the school could not do anything for, to, or with my daughter regarding her disability without my permission. I sat through countless IEP meetings over the years, I was insistent on certain issues of academic support when I needed to be, and I agonized over everything from teacher selection to her successful social integration with classmates. And now, as I prepare to pack her up and take her off to college in the Fall, I recognize that this role has ended for me – and the word “anxious” doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings.

If you are worried that your child with a disability will have a difficult time making a successful transition to college without your involvement… then you are probably right to be worried. Very few children with disabilities can succeed at the college level. On the other hand, students with disabilities survive and thrive on college campuses across the country. If you still think of your son or daughter as your “child,” and they still are comfortable in accepting that role, it is time to take a careful look at where you have come from and what lies before you. As parents, it is time for us to step back and allow/encourage/gently nudge our SWD’s (Students With Disabilities) to assume significant independent responsibility for their own lives, both academically and personally.

As you and your SWD prepare to visit campus for that initial meeting with a disability service provider at the college, you would do well to think about what can be accomplished at this initial meeting, what needs to be said – and who is going to say it!!! As I approach that same milestone with my daughter, I find myself a little panicky, realizing that there are things about her disability and how it impacts on her functioning that I know and that the disability services provider needs to know, and that I may not have many chances to say. There is no doubt that I can explain those things more fully than my daughter can explain them (or even understands them!). And it doesn’t matter. Much as I hate it, I know that SHE has to be the one to convey all this crucial information (not me!), for a number of reasons.

First, colleges and universities provide services and support to SWD under very different laws than those that governed services in the K-12 system. As a parent, I have no rights under Section 504/ADA in speaking for my SWD who is in college. (If you aren’t sure what “Section 504/ADA” means in this context, perhaps the disability service provider you meet with will have gathered some information that helps explain the differences between settings, both legally and practically. Two of my favorite websites for learning more are at: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html and http://www.heath.gwu.edu/). The services and support available to SWD are sometimes very different than what was provided in high school, and the college is under no obligation to continue the services given in high school or to adhere to the recommendations of an outside diagnostician. The college will make its own determination of what services and support to offer, based on the documentation of disability and their interview with your SWD. There are no IEP’s in college, there is no place to sign off with my parental approval. Indeed, the college doesn’t legally have to care whether I am satisfied or not. My daughter is responsible for her own destiny now.

More importantly, while this may be your last chance to convey all that important information on to the college, it is your SWD’s first chance to convey that information all by himself/herself. Don’t spoil that opportunity, and don’t interfere. Remember, while you and your SWD are learning more about the campus, the resources, and the people who will be there to help when needed, the disability service provider is learning more about your son/daughter, as well. You want their first impression to be one that is positive and reassuring. The service provider is anxious to find out whether your SWD is mature enough to handle the responsibilities and independence of college life. Here are some specific suggestions for helping your SWD to shine in this newly focused spotlight:

  • DON’T be insulted if you are not invited to sit in on the initial meeting between your SWD and the disability services folks. Some institutions have found that it is helpful for them to speak directly (and alone!) to the student in order to get a feel for how knowledgeable and confident s/he is in sharing information about past services, what works and doesn't work, and what accommodations they hope to have at the college level. You will get a chance to ask your questions, but recognize that it may come later, rather than sooner.
  • If you are invited to sit in on the meeting with the disability services folks, DO acknowledge your SWD as the authority on their disability-related needs by making it clear that you believe they have all the answers! Try focusing your visual attention on your son/daughter instead of trying to make eye contact with the interviewer. If you look to your SWD, so will the professional.
  • DON’T begin any sentence with “S/He needs to have…” Instead, you can try, “In high school, s/he had…” or “The person who tested him/her suggested…” but it would actually be better if you said nothing at all! Try to talk as little as possible in the meeting. This is not your meeting. Remember, you are there as an observer, not as a participant.
  • DO take some time prepping your son/daughter in advance on the issues that you think need to be discussed – the things that you would say if you had the chance. Make a list of the topics you would bring up, explain why you think each is important, and make sure your SWD has the list in hand when s/he goes into the interview. Rehearse with your son/daughter, if they will let you. If they are typical teens and aren’t comfortable sitting through that kind of rehearsal, settle for making them sit and listen while you demonstrate how you would approach certain subjects. For example, “I think you should tell them about how the teachers arranged for extra time for you on tests when you were in high school. I’d probably say, ‘In high school, I was allowed extra time for tests in English because it takes me a long time to put my thoughts in writing, but I never needed it in Math.’” Your SWD may not acknowledge the strategies you share, but you may be surprised to hear those words come out of his/her mouth at the interview!
  • DON’T interrupt. If you disagree with something the disability service provider says, or if your SWD says something that you know is incorrect, or if you see your SWD agreeing with/to something when you know they have no idea what they are agreeing to – DON’T INTERRUPT! Let the interview play out. Give the disability service provider a chance to draw your SWD out further, give your SWD an opportunity to clarify matters, or simply wait to see if the confusion/ disagreement remains. It is important to know just how independent and accurate students are in describing their needs. You will get your chance.
  • DO prompt your son/daughter to speak up and share those important points as the interview progresses. Instead of explaining to the disability service provider why Johnny needs a calculator in math classes, turn to Johnny and say, “Why don't you explain to Ms.         why it is important for you to have a calculator for math and science classes. Is it because you have trouble lining up the columns, or because you have trouble remembering basic math facts or ????” Give an open-ended question that encourages your SWD to flesh out the response. At the same time, you are hinting to the interviewer that there is an issue here to be discussed (See? I told you that you would get your chance!)

Why not take notes as the interview progresses? When your son/daughter has exhausted the list of topics to discuss, and the disability service provider has shared all the information they thought was important, it is YOUR turn to talk. Go ahead and ask your questions. The most important thing to remember now is that you do not want to undermine your son/daughter’s credibility. If you have more information to share on a given subject, try starting the sentence with, “As Susie told you, she has used…” and then add whatever you need to on top of information already given. If you think your SWD gave incorrect information, tread carefully. You might say, “I was surprised to hear Jane say       . I would have said      , because…” You’ll get your point across without directly contradicting what your son/daughter said. Your goal is to assure both the SWD and the disability service provider that you are supportive of their budding understanding, and simply want to share another viewpoint.

An old adage maintains:
There are only two things a parent can give to a child…
One is roots. The other is wings.

It is time for our kids to solo. That is a scary thought for us, as parents, and it is sure to be scary for them, too. That’s OK. This is what we have all been working towards for a long time. Remember, your son/daughter will call, email, or text if they need you. They know what you can do for them, but now it is time for them to go it alone. Take a deep breath, cross your fingers, wish them well – and walk away. All will be well!


Best of luck, Jane Jarrow
Proud (and Terrified) Mom

In 2008, the Washington State Legislature enacted Senate Bill 6313 Recognizing disability history in the public education system.

Each October, public schools, colleges, and universities conduct and promote educational activities that provide instruction, awareness, and understanding of disability history and people with disabilities. The activities may include school assemblies or guest speakers.

July 26th, 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of our nation’s proudest civil rights achievements. While the ADA has expanded opportunities for people with disabilities by reducing barriers, changing perceptions, and increasing participation in community life, its full promise can only be realized if we remain committed to these efforts.

Here are a few things you can do to acknowledge and celebrate this historic event:

  • View videos on the making of the ADA with President H.W. Bush, Senator Edward Kennedy, and disability rights activist, Justin Dart: http://dredf.org/2015/07/14/the-making-of-the-ada/
  • Learn about the laws regarding disability employment through the years, from the passage of the Smith-Fess Act in 1920 to recent strides in increasing competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities through the ADA Historical Timeline
  • Share your personal experience with disability in the workplace at: http://www.dol.gov/featured/ada